Gas Free Operations – City of Melbourne

In December 2020, Bridgeford Group completed the City of Melbourne Gas Free Operations feasibility and implementation roadmap. The project was a response to their declared Climate Emergency, recognizing that although certified carbon-neutral, direct gas emissions represented the majority of the remaining emissions for the City of Melbourne’s facilities and buildings.

Bridgeford Group was tasked with analysing 40 of their existing facilities, with detailed site audits of 15 sites and desktop analysis of a further 25 sites, to an Australian Standard Energy Auditing (AS3598) Type 2 and 1 respectively (gas only). The investigation phase, covering some 12 weeks, required in-depth analysis of utility and operating costs, including the Melbourne Renewable Energy Partnership (MREP) power purchase agreement for electricity, site conditions, drawings and infrastructure.

Following the complex analysis stage, Bridgeford Group developed an in-depth 10-year program and implementation plan, site by site and project by project feasibility (6 upgrades with 75 individual projects, across the 40 buildings).

The project included electrification across:

  • Central heating plants including air handling systems, hydronic heating, fan coils
  • Domestic Hot water electrification
  • Pool heating upgrades
  • Cooking and tenant upgrades
  • Supporting infrastructure (electrical and mechanical) upgrades

Bridgeford Group’s expertise transcended the “strategy”, and we provided a detailed excel-based tool for use by a range of staff from the City of Melbourne. The custom tool included 10 year cash flow projections, the ability for CoM to change costings and assumptions, project and site prioritization based on numerous factors including spatial constraints, supporting infrastructure, project complexity and asset end of life.

The output data and graphics show changes to emissions profiles, ongoing and future operating costs and expected project cash flow based in real time. One of the key learnings in developing the plan was that many of the upgrades made financial sense when aligned to the end of operational life of cooling and heating assets. This also assisted in making key decisons on project priorities and timelines.

This project involved collaboration with multiple facilities and operational staff, full understanding of each individual site and building upon our extensive history of electrification across critical facilities.

The custom tool is now being used by the City of Melbourne Project Team to set the capital works budget for the next few years, ensuring end of life asset upgrades align closely with the climate-driven electrification works. This was done not only through use of the custom tool, but each of the priority sites included a separate detailed report section for use by project managers in charge of the upgrades.